More than a Wish

When I was a kid, I saw a shooting start and my parents told me to make a wish. Not understanding exactly how wishes worked, I woke up the next morning disappointed that my wish had not immediately come true.

Sadly, I believe many of our prayer lives are like this. We offer a petition to God then go about our ways expecting it to magically come true. Our readings this Sunday show that miracles are sometimes a bit more complicated than this. In the case of Naaman and the Samaritan leper, petition was the first step, but this was followed by two additional steps: trusting God when something peculiar was asked of them, and showing thanks for answering the prayer.

So it should be with us. When we ask God for help, the first thing we should do is listen for God’s answer. Where is he guiding us? How is he showing us the answer? It may seem peculiar or difficult, but faith leads us to trust that God knows how to answer our prayers and that we might have to make some sacrifices to see them fulfilled.

Am I In A Cult?

At first glance, it’s a ridiculous question. Obviously no. But what is a cult, and how is it different from a religion? It’s not such an easy question to answer. Further, once we do, it becomes apparent that the difference between the two isn’t so black and white: there can be cult-like aspects to religions. This is something to beware of.

Such as… Biblical Fundamentalism

One of the most common aspects of a cult is the lack of intellectual questioning or rigor. Adherents are told to obey without understanding, even when the information they’ve been given doesn’t make much sense. This week, Fr. Patrick and I review one such example of that: a children’s representation of the Genesis story packed full of biblical fundamentalism.

Or Organized Crime

The same can be said about organized crime families, on display in the movie Lucky Number Slevin. Not exactly the most wholesome movie Fr. Tito and I have ever reviewed, it is a look into what hatred, resentment, and fear will do to people, including the “heroes” of the movie. It’s a clever, well-written movie, but not one we’d recommend for all audiences.

Can “good people” get to heaven?

The only way to heaven is through Jesus, but that doesn’t mean that even people in cults can’t be saved. We believe in a merciful God, as I discuss in this TikTok.

@caseyofm

#stitch with @violinrobin Can non-Christians go to heaven?

♬ original sound – caseyofm

Keep us in your prayers

Starting tomorrow, the priests of the Diocese of Savannah will on retreat. I would appreciate your prayers for all these men that it may be a rejuvenating and inspiring week.

Peace and good to everyone!

Fr. Casey

Sunday Newsletter

So, the Saturday morning newsletter just isn’t working out for me, I guess. Let’s try something new: Sunday newsletter, complete with a few words on the weekly readings.

You Don’t Deserve Anything

“How long, O LORD?  I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not intervene.” The words of the prophet Habakkuk ring true for me regularly. How does God let this happen?! I deserve better. It’s easy to look at our lives and all the good things we do in them—going to mass, working hard, being a good person—and believe that we deserve something. We’ve earned a good life, have we not?

According to Jesus, no. He reminds his disciples that the very opportunity to serve God is reward in itself. We should not expect to be showered with gifts simply because we did what we were asked to do. That’s foolish.

And yet, this does not mean that we’re mistreated, either. We may not receive special treatment from God because of our good works, but we most certainly receive special treatment. God fills us with his presence, giving us life. We did not earn this. What we receive is not a salary, it’s a major downpayment for this life. We have been loved despite not doing anything to earn it. For this reason, we serve him.

A Man Who Knew That Grace. Sort of.

It’s hard to imagine a historical figure more aware of how blessed he was than St. Francis. A glorious sinner early in life, he turned from his selfish ways because God loved him even in his sinfulness. He wanted to devote his entire life to imitating Christ.

In Brother Sun, Sister Moon, you get a version of that. It hasn’t aged well, but some say it was influential in their vocation. We try to point out the good things.

Everyone Deserves A Second Chance?

There are few movies in this world that get to me quite like Shutter Island. It’s just a masterpiece of telling everyone one story while they think you’re telling them another. A thriller like no other, I highly recommend it for those who aren’t afraid to be freaked out, unsettled, and flipped upside down. For everyone else, might I recommend a different movie.

Who Are You Serving?

As we hear today Jesus tell his disciples that they should be happy simply to serve their master, it’s worth asking the question: which master are we serving? For this reason, I invite you to go back and watch this video from November 2020.

More Ways to Pray

Looking for a way to grow closer to Jesus? You could always meditate with the Bible. If you don’t know how to get started or are looking for a guide, why not check out my new podcast, The Word Became Flesh.

https://sites.libsyn.com/433737/mark-521-43

Have a great week!

Hope everyone is doing well. Peace and good to you!

Fr. Casey

Running Behind!

Every week is busy. Some weeks are just busier. Not only was last week Homecoming week for the Catholic high school where I work, I had the great opportunity of attending a long-time friend’s wedding yesterday. The ceremony was wonderful and it was great to see friends, but I can honestly say that I wasn’t thrilled about getting up at 5:30am on Saturday to drive 6.5 hours, go to the wedding, and drive 6.5 hours back today. After a long week, it certainly throws things off!

Don’t Take This Too Seriously

Some movies offer a window into the divine, sparking our imaginations and leaving us with wonder. Others, are just silly. In this week’s Upon Friar Review, Fr. Patrick and I spend a few minutes with the latter, discussing Jack Black’s portrayal of a Franciscan wrestler in Nacho Libre.

Take This Seriously?

What might seem like a continuation of our folly in this week’s Everyday Liminality is actually a sneaky way to have a deep conversation. Almost. Reviewing the shameless and hilarious Free Guy, we recognize that there are actually some deep philosophical questions lurking beneath the surface.

https://everydayliminality.libsyn.com/everyday-liminality-week-3-free-guy

Take This VERY Seriously

If more humor is what you’re looking for, definitely don’t watch this week’s reflection on Breaking in the Habit. Using a scene from Calvary as a springboard, I discuss how we should forgive horrible situations but never forget them. That goes for what people have done to us, but also what we’ve done to others.

Have you Subscribed yet?

Each day I post an episode of The Word Became Flesh, reading a passage of the Gospels in a meditative form. Check it out wherever you listen to podcasts and be sure to subscribe!

https://sites.libsyn.com/433737/mark-421-25

The Chaos Continues

And so here I am, writing on Sunday evening, realizing that the week is already upon me! Please pray for my time management, my ability to say “no,” and the success of whatever God wants to do with me this week.

Peace and good,

Fr. Casey

You Matter

There are times in our lives when feelings of self-doubt get the best of us. Maybe we feel lost and don’t know where we’re going. Maybe we feel like we’re not appreciated for what we do. It happens to the best of us. In this week’s batch of content, there appears to be a thread of hope through it all: the world is better with you in it.

The Scenic Route to Die

Fr. Stu faced a lot of tragedy in his life but I doubt he was complaining about it near the end. In fact, we know that he found meaning in suffering and actually thanked God for it. His life is a testament to the fact that, even when we sin and run from God, we matter to Him.

You Matter, But Not as Much as you Think

On the opposite side of self-doubt are delusions of grandeur, believing that everything we do will change the world. We must be the best. We must leave a legacy so earth shattering that everyone will remember us. Unless we do something heroic that inspires the world, our life is a waste. Obviously, none of this is true. Sometimes, ironically, it can be helpful to put our lives against the backdrop of the entire universe to see that we don’t “matter” as much as thought in order to see what really matters in life. Such is the case with the dizzying movie Birdman.

In Response to Wounded Idiots

This week, a video went viral of an influential man making fun of an elementary school poster telling kids that they mattered. Without any hesitation, he told them that they didn’t. Yikes. I was not the only one who felt a need to respond publicly.

New Posting Schedule

In the past, you could expect a new video on Breaking in the Habit every week. For many years this appeared to work, but often my videos were rushed and too simply made. My hope this semester is to make fewer, higher quality videos. For that reason, I have a video filmed and in editing now for next week, but nothing for this week. We’ll see how it goes.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Peace and good,

Fr. Casey

Here we go!

After many months away, I’m happy to be back with a full slate of content. It’s been a long time coming with a lot of work (and needed time off) in between but I hope you find everything we’re producing this semester fruitful for your lives as Christians!

This is how you evangelize

You’ve heard quite a bit over the last three months about our tour, but here’s the definitive summary. Here’s why we did it, what we learned, and what you can take from our time on the road.

This girl is hilarious… but not always correct

Chances are you remember our first video reviewing Ariel Fitzpatrick’s TikToks. That video has over 1,000,000 views! Fr. Patrick and I are at it again, only this time we’ve found a few flaws in her theology. We still love her style but think it’s important to add some minor corrections for your benefit.

A gut-wrenching, stunning movie. MUST SEE!

There are some movies that just leave you breathless. That was the case for me after watching 1917. The final credits played and I didn’t move. I just sat there, overwhelmed. What did I just watch? It’s stunning. It’s brilliant. It’s devastating. From a technical stand point it’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.

https://everydayliminality.libsyn.com/untitled-new-episode

Looking for a way to pray with Scripture?

Last week I launched a new podcast in which I read scripture and offer a guided meditation. There’s no commentary, no reflection, just Scripture. I hope that you’ll take some time each day to listen to the quick passage and pray with me. There are currently seven episodes available, but here are the first three

Christians, can you tone down the talk of hell?

That’s the question one person asked on TikTok, and I happily responded: no.

@caseyofm

#stitch with @eve_wasframed The Good News is often misunderstood.#jesus #gospel #christian #heavenandhell

♬ original sound – caseyofm

That’s it for this week! I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Peace and good,

Fr. Casey